Carrie and Bioinformatics

“How might disease spread in populated areas in the event of a bioterrorism incident, and how would it be contained?”

It is questions like the one above that motivated me to become an applied mathematics major. The general definition of Bioinformatics is an interdisciplinary field that develops and improves methods for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data. The part that I am interested in is the study of disease. One part of bioinformatics involves taking the data collected from studies to form a complete picture for interpretation and analysis.

In the Journal for Cancer Research, “Serum Protein Fingerprinting Coupled with a Pattern-matching Algorithm Distinguishes Prostate Cancer from Benign Prostate Hyperplasia and Healthy Men” ( is an article that uses a decision tree algorithm. This is a powerful tool for classification and prediction. It is a classifier in a tree form having a

  • Decision node: specifies a test on a single attribute
  • Leaf node: indicates the value of the target attribute
  • Arc/edge: split of one attribute
  • Path: a disjunction of test to make the final decision


I think that bioinformatics is a huge and very important tool in mathematics that I hope to be apart of one day.

2 thoughts on “Carrie and Bioinformatics

  1. tylermurphy

    Bioterrorism is an area I find particularly fascinating and relevant. I also have some firsthand experience with it. I was in NBC (nuke, bio, chem) when I was in the Army. Our job was to predict the results of various NBC attacks, how to minimize the effects, and, when I went to Ranger School, how to prevent them in the first place. I love seeing areas of my current life in mathematics overlap with my previous life as a soldier.

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